2.1 The critics of the Shia Imamiyyah whose statements are relied upon in al jarh wa al ta’dil
2.2 The non-Imami critics whose statements are relied upon in al jarh wa al ta’dil according to the Shia Imamiyyah
2.3 The methodology of al Hilli and al Khu’i in dealing with contradictory statements of al jarh wa al ta’dil
2.4 Al Khu’i’s position on the statements of tawthiq of his scholarly predecessors
Al Tusi states:
نصر بن صباح, يكنى أبا القاسم, من أهل بَلْخ, لقي جِلّة من كان في عصره من المشايخ و العلماء وروى عنهم, إلا أنه قيل أنه كان من الطيارة غال
Nasr ibn al Sabbah, given the kunyah (teknonym) Abu al Qasim, is from the inhabitants of Balkh. He met most of the teachers and scholars in his time and narrated from them. However, it has been said that he was an ghalin (extremist) from the Tayyarah.
The issue of al Nasr ibn al Sabbah’s extremism has been questioned and it was (eventually) rejected by the scholars of the Imamiyyah. In fact, he was effectively absolved from the (allegations of) extremism and any reliance thereupon.
In short, there is a difference of opinion regarding al Nasr ibn al Sabbah. Opinions range between being reliable, good, weak, and extreme. However, despite this, he is frequently relied upon by Abu ‘Umar al Kashshi in matters related to al jarh wa al ta’dil in his book. In fact, because of this, al Khawaju’i states:
أنه لو لم يكن نصر بن صباح ثقة معتمدا عليه يلزم أن يكون كتاب الكشي في الأكثر بلا فائدة لأنه أكثر من النقل عنه
If Nasr ibn al Sabbah was not a thiqah and not to be relied-upon, this would render most of al Kashshi’s book unbeneficial since he frequently transmits from him.
It is a known fact that almost every person that came after al Kashshi frequently narrated from al Nasr ibn al Sabbah—which al Kashshi transmits; however, they differ about whether his statements are acceptable. This difference of opinion is based on the condition of al Nasr himself. At this juncture, it is important for us to know the opinions of al Hilli and al Khu’i on this matter.
Al Hilli considers the statements of al Nasr ibn al Sabbah in matters of al jarh wa al ta’dil as unreliable, even though he (i.e., al Hilli) frequently mentions him in his book al Khulasah. However, at times, he mentions his opinion and then mentions his condition and the fact that he is unreliable. Other times, he mentions a statement of his and approves of it without mentioning his condition. Thus, under the biography of Jafar ibn Bashir, we find al Hilli saying:
قال الكشي قال نصر أخذ جعفر بن بشير فضرب ولقي شدة حتى خلصه الله تعالى، ومات في طريق مكة، وصاحب المأمون بعد موت الرضا عليه السلام
Al Kashshi states, “Nasr said, ‘Jafar ibn Bashir was taken and beaten. He met with a lot of difficulty until Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala freed him from it. He died on the way to Makkah. He was the companion of al Ma’mun after the death of al Rida ‘alayh al Salam.’”
This (is mentioned) without al Hilli mentioning any dispraise of al Nasr ibn al Sabbah!
At times, we find al Hilli expressing his opinion on Nasr ibn al Sabbah, as he states under the biography of ‘Ali ibn al Sariyy:
قال الكشي في موضع آخر قال نصر بن الصباح: علي بن إسماعيل ثقة، وهو علي بن السري فقلب إسماعيل بالسري، ونصر بن الصباح ضعيف عندي لا أعتبر بقوله، لكن الاعتماد على تعديل النجاشي له
Al Kashshi states in another place, “Nasr ibn al Sabah said, ‘‘Ali ibn Ismail is a thiqah. He is ‘Ali ibn al Sariyy; (the name) Ismail was substituted with al Sariyy.’” Nasr ibn al Sabbah is da’if according to me; I do not take into consideration his statements. However, the reliance (on him) is based on al Najjashi’s ta’dil of him.
In short, the original position of al Hilli in his book is a rejection and non-reliance upon the opinions of Nasr ibn al Sabbah regarding narrators. This is because he explicitly stated that he is weak on more than one occasion. However, he contradicts this opinion in other places.
The opinion of al Khu’i regarding al Nasr ibn al Sabbah is similar to al Hilli’s. At times, he mentions him in affirmation of his statement. Other times, he mentions him in confutation of his statement. Perhaps his opinion about Ibn al Sabbah is what he stated under the biography of ‘Ali al Sanadi, “Al Kashshi states, ‘Nasr ibn al Sabbah; ‘Ali ibn Ismail said he is a thiqah.’ He (‘Ali ibn Ismail) is ‘Ali ibn al Sanadi, with the epithet (laqab) Ismail al Sanadi.” Then al Khu’i followed this up by saying, “There is no reliance on the statement of Nasr ibn al Sabbah.”
Under the biography of Hammad ibn ‘Isa, he also stated, “In general, Nasr ibn al Sabbah’s words are not to be relied upon.”
Based on this opinion, it becomes necessary to impose upon both al Hilli and al Khu’i a rejection of all the narrations and opinions that appear in Rijal al Kashshi in which al Nasr ibn al Sabbah appears. As a result, it becomes similar to what al Khawaju’i stated in his previous statement, “This would render most of al Kashshi’s book of no benefit.”
He is Ahmad ibn ‘Ali ibn al ‘Abbas al Najjashi al Asadi al Kufi.
Al Hilli stated:
ثقة معتمد عليه عندي له كتاب الرجال نقلنا منه كتابنا هذا و غيره أشياء كثيرة
According to me, (he is) reliable (and) to be relied-upon. He has a work on narrators; we have transmitted this book and many other things from him.
Al Khu’i stated:
هو خريت [ ماهر أو حاذق ] هذه الصناعة و المتسالم عليه بالوثاقة
He is an expert of this craft and is considered reliable.
Bahr al ‘Ulum (d. 1212 AH) described him saying:
أحد المشايخ الثقات و العدول الأثبات من أعظم أركان الجرح والتعديل وأعظم علماء هذا السبيل أجمع علماؤنا بالاعتماد عليه و أطبقوا على الاستناد في أحوال الرجال إليه
One of the reliable and trustworthy teachers. (He was) from the greatest ‘pillars’ of the science of al jarh wa al ta’dil and scholars of this path. There is a consensus among our scholars regarding his reliability and relying on him for knowing the conditions of narrators.
Aghabuzruk al Tahrani stated:
وهو أفضل من خط في علم الرجال أو نطق بفم ، لا يقاس بسواه ولا يعدل به من عداه ، بل قوله المقدم عند المعارضة على غيره من أئمة الرجال
And he is the most virtuous to have written and spoken on the science of al jarh wa al ta’dil. In this regard, no one else’s (statements) can either be measured by his nor reverted to. In fact, when there is contradictory evidence, his statement is to be preferred over the other imams of the science of narrator evaluation.
He is the author of one of the primary works on narrator evaluation according to the Imamiyyah, famously known as Rijal al Najjashi. This has already been discussed.
Whoever studies the Khulasah of al Hilli will see the extent to which he follows the statements of al Najjashi. Under his comments in al Khulasah regarding the biography of ‘Abdullah ibn Maymun, al Shahid al Thani states:
أن الذي اعتبرناه بالاستقراء من طريقة العلامة في الخلاصة أن ما يحكيه أولا من كتاب النجاشي ثم يعقبه بغيره إن اقتضى الحال
That which we consider through empirical evidence through al ‘Allamah in al Khulasah is what he narrates from al Najjashi firstly. Thereafter, if the situation requires, (we consider) whatever he criticizes thereafter of al Najjashi’s statements with others’ (statements).
Al Khu’i, as well, respects and venerates the statements of al Najjashi to such an extent that he commences many biographies with “al Najjashi stated.” Thus, it is the first thing he begins the biographies with.
A-Hilli in al Khulasah, despite him generally refuting the narrations of his opponents in relation to creedal matters, prefers the statements of al Tusi and al Najjashi over the method that he (himself) follows. Under the biography of ‘Ali ibn al Hussain ibn Faddal, he stated, “Al Tusi and al Najjashi both testified to his reliability. Therefore, I rely upon his narration, even though his school (of thought) is fasid (incorrect).”
In short, according to everyone, he is unquestionably reliable.
Al Najjashi states:
الفضل بن شاذان بن الخليل أبو محمد الأزدي النيشابوري ( النيسابوري ) كان أبوه من أصحاب يونس، و روى عن أبي جعفر الثاني، وقيل [عن] الرضا أيضا عليهما السلام وكان ثقة، أحد أصحابنا الفقهاء والمتكلمين وله جلالة في هذه الطائفة، وهو في قدره أشهر من أن نصفه
Al Fadl ibn Shadhan ibn al Khalil Abu Muhammad al Azdi al Nayshaburi (al Naysaburi); his father was from the companions of Yunus. He narrated from Abu Ja’far al Thani. It has been said that he also narrated from al Rida ‘alayh al Salam. He was a thiqah, one of our jurists and theologians. He has a prestigious rank in this group. He is, in his notoriety, more famous that we can describe him.
Al Hilli described him saying:
وهذا الشيخ أجل من أن يغمز عليه فإنه رئيس طائفتنا
This sheikh is greater than can be pointed out. He is the leader of our group.
Despite al Fadl ibn Shadhan being praised by the Imami scholars and them narrating many narrations in his virtue, we find, at the same time, him saying, “Verily Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is in the seven skies above the ‘arsh, as He described Himself. And He is a jism (i.e., has a body).”
According to the latter-day Imami scholars, this type of belief is considered a major and unforgiveable sin. In the same narration, the Infallible (according to the Imamiyyah) says about him:
هذا الفضل بن شاذان مالنا وله يفسد علينا موالينا ويزين لهم الأباطيل وكلما كتبنا إليهم كتابا اعترض علينا في ذلك وأنا أتقدم إليه أن يكف عنا و إلا والله سألت الله أن يرميه بمرض لا يندمل جرحه منه في الدنيا ولا في الآخرة
This al Fadl ibn Shadhan; what do we have to do with him? He has corrupted our mawali (associates) and beautified falsities for them. Every time we wrote to them, he objected. I approached him to stop this, and if he does not. By Allah, I asked Allah to afflict him with such a disease that will neither heal in this world nor the Hereafter.”
In short, despite what al Ma’sum stated about him, we find al Fadl ibn Shadhan reliable according to both al Hilli and al Khu’i in rulings about narrators. However, al Khu’i does not consider what ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Qutaybah—the student of al Fadl ibn Shadhan—transmits from his teacher, despite the fact that most of the statements of al Fadl are transmitted via this same Ibn Qutaybah. This is because al Khu’i states, “‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Qutaybah, even though he is from al Kashshi’s teachers, his reliability is unestablished. Therefore, what he transmits from al Fadl ibn Shadhan is not proven.”
Yaqut al Hamawi (d. 626 AH) states in Mujam al Buldan:
قُمُ بالضم وتشديد الميم وهي كلمة فارسية وهي مدينة مستحدثة إسلامية لا أثر للأعاجم فيها، وأول من مصرها طلحة بن الأحوص الأشعري قال البلاذري لما انصرف أبو موسى الأشعري من نهاوند إلى الأهواز أتى قم فأقام عليها أياماً وافتتحها، وقيل وجَّه الأحنف بن قيس فافتتحها عنوة، وذلك في سنة 23 للهجرة، وذكر بعضهم أن قم بين أصبهان وساوة وأهلها كلهم شيعة إمامية وكان بدء تمصيرها في أيام الحجاج بن يوسف سنة 83
Qum—a Persian word… It is a newly developed Islamic city with no trace of non-Arabs in it. Talhah ibn al Ahwas al Ash’ari founded it… Al Baladhuri stated, “When Abu Musa al Ash’ari left Nahawand for al Ahwaz… he came to Qum and remained there for a few days and (eventually) conquered it. It has been said that al Ahnaf ibn Qais conquered it by force in the year 23 AH. Some have mentioned that Qum stands between Asbahan and Sawah… All of its people are Imami Shia. The beginning of it becoming a city-state was in the days of al Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, in the year 83 AH.
Al Hamawi states:
كُمندَان هو اسم قم في أيام الفرس فلما فتحها المسلمون اختصروا اسمها قماً كما ذكرنا في قم
Kumdan: The name of Qum in the days of the Persians. When the Muslims conquered it, they shortened it to Qum, as we have mentioned in (the section on) Qum.
Before speaking on this matter, it is necessary for us to know the underlying reason as to why the Qummis were granted a distinct level of reverence by the Imami scholars, and why they venerate them in all of the different sciences.
Qum and its people, according to what the Imamiyyah believe, enjoy a special status, to such an extent that they mention narrations about them. From these narrations comes what al Majlisi mentioned of Jafar al Sadiq’s statement:
أهل قم مغفور لهم قال فوثب الرجل على رجليه وقال يا ابن رسول الله هذا خاصة لأهل قم قال نعم ومن يقول بمقالتهم ثم قال أزيدك قال نعم، حدثني أبي عن أبيه عن جده قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله نظرت إلى بقعة بأرض الجبل خضراء أحسن لونا من الزعفران و أطيب رائحة من المسك وإذا فيها شيخ بارك على رأسه برنس، فقلت حبيبي جبرئيل ما هذه البقعة قال فيها شيعة وصيك علي بن أبي طالب قلت فمن الشيخ البارك فيها قال ذلك إبليس اللعين – عليه اللعنة – قلت فما يريد منهم قال يريد أن يصدهم عن ولاية وصيك علي ويدعوهم إلى الفسق والفجور فقلت يا جبرئيل أهوِ بنا إليه فأهوى بنا إليه في أسرع من برق خاطف فقلت له قم يا ملعون فشارك المرجئة في نسائهم وأموالهم؛ لأن أهل قم شيعتي وشيعة وصيي علي بن أبي طالب
“The people of Qom are forgiven.”
A man jumped up on to his feet and said, “O, son of the Messenger of Allah! Is this specific to the people of Qom?”
He said, “Yes. And whoever says the same as they do.”
Then he said, “Should I give you more (information about them)?” The man answered, “Yes.”
He said, “My father narrated to me, from his father, from his grandfather who said that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, ‘I looked at a green patch (of the earth) on the mountain ground, better in colour than saffron and better smelling than musk. Suddenly, there was an elderly man with a hooded cloak kneeling down. I said, ‘My love, Jibril, what is this patch?’ He said, ‘In it are the Shia of your wasiyy (authorized agent), ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.’ I said, ‘Who is the elderly man kneeling in it?’ He said, ‘That is the accursed Iblis, may the curse (of Allah) be upon him.’ I said, ‘What does he want from them?’ He said, ‘He wants to stop them from the wilayah of your wasiyy and invite them to open transgression and immorality.’ I said, ‘O Jibril, lunge (the both of us) towards him.’ And so, he lunged towards him faster than a lightning bolt. I said to him, ‘Get up, O accursed one and (rather) associate with the Murji’ah in their women and possessions for the people of Qum are my Shia (group) and the Shia of my wasiyy, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.’”
They narrate from al Imam Jafar al Sadiq that he said:
على قم ملكٌ رفرف عليها بجناحيه سلام الله على أهل قم يسقي الله بلادهم الغيث وينزل عليهم البركات ويبدل الله سيئاتهم حسنات
Upon Qum is an angel that flaps its wings over them … May the peace of Allah be upon the people of Qum (and) may He grant them abundance in water in their town and bring forth blessings. And may He change their bad actions to good ones.
What is important at this juncture for us is the high academic standing for the people of Qum. Al Majlisi states:
وروي عن الأئمة عليهم السلام لولا القميون لضاع الدين
It has been narrated by the Imams ‘alayhim al Salam, “Had it not been for the Qummis, the religion would cease to exist.”
Therefore, the people of Qum are the protectors of the religion and the Shari’ah. Therefore, the scholars of the Imamiyyah rely upon their statements—from which includes what they mention about (the science of) al jarh wa al ta’dil. To such an extent that Rafi’ al Din al Rashti considered the words “the Qummis reliance upon him, and the Qummis narrating from him” as something favourable for a particular narrator.
In describing the poet, Ahmad ibn ‘Alawiyyah al Asbahani, al Amini writes:
و حسبنا آية لثقته اعتماد القميين عليه مع تسرعهم في الوقيعة بأدنى غميزة في الرجل
The fact that the Qummis rely upon him suffices us as a proof to indicate his reliability and their hastening to his defence for the slightest of blemishes in the man.
Therefore, the scholars of the Imamiyyah made the Qummis a means by which judgements of narrations are passed. If they intend tawthiq of a narrator, they mention the reliance the Qummis have on him. But if they perceive some benefit in making tawthiq of him despite the Qummis judging him to be weak, the situation changes and they then say as Bahr al ‘Ulum (d. 1212 AH) said:
في الاعتماد على تضعيف القميين وقدحهم في الأًصول والرجل كلام معروف فإن طريقتهم في الانتقاد تخالف ما عليه جماهير النقاد
There is a well-known discussion regarding the Qummis’ tad’if (rendering a narrator as weak) in the primary works and the works of narrator criticism; their method in criticizing (narrators) is different to the majority’s method of criticism.
As for the Qummis, according to al Hilli, they are the ‘pillars’ of al jarh wa al ta’dil. To such an extent that he would refrain from and suspend judgement on a narrator if he found an (existing) opinion of the Qummis regarding him. An example of this is al Hilli’s statement under the biography of al Hussain ibn Yazid ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul Malik al Nawfali:
قال قوم من القميين أنه غلا في آخر عمره، والله أعلم وقال النجاشي وما رأينا له رواية تدل على هذا وأما عندي في روايته توقف لمجرد ما نقله عن القميين وعدم الظفر بتعديل الأصحاب له
A group of people from the Qummis stated, “He became extreme (in his views) at the end of his life. And Allah knows best.” Al Najjashi states, “We have not seen a narration proving this.” As for my opinion, there is to be a suspension of judgement on his narrations for the mere fact of what he (i.e., al Najjashi) narrated from the Qummis. And also because of the fact that the companions (i.e., our scholars) were unable to successfully ascertain any type of statement of ta’dil for him.
The evidence here lies in the fact that al Hilli refrained from making tawthiq of the narrator and placed him among the weak narrators, despite the fact that al Najjashi cleared his name from the accusation of holding extreme views. Al Hilli did not enact his normal judgement of presuming his ‘adalah—which he employed in making tawthiq of many (other) narrators. All of this because of the respect and reverence he holds for the Qummis’ criticism of this narrator.
As for al Khu’i, he recounts their statements mostly through what al Najjashi, al Tusi, or Ibn al Ghada’iri narrate from them. The Qummis are many, the most famous of them include Ibn al Ghada’iri, Ibn al Walid—who was previously mentioned in the book Nawadir al Hikmah—and others.
The opinions of Ibn al Ghada’iri expressed in his book, al Rijal, are regarded to be from the problematic issues. In fact, it led to many scholarly debates among the scholars of narrator criticism of the Imamiyyah.
Before speaking about his condition of acceptability and opinions, we need to firstly ascertain who Ibn al Ghada’iri, the author of the book, is. Imami scholars differed in answering this question. They hold the following two opinions:
Therefore, the preponderant views are between the son and his father. However, most of the Imami scholars hold the view that the book was authored by the son, Ahmad ibn al Hussain.
After establishing that the book is written by the son, Ahmad ibn al Hussain al Ghada’iri—as most believe—the question arises: What is Ahmad ibn al Hussain al Ghada’iri’s condition in terms of acceptability and what is his academic standing?
The Imami scholars differed and hold two distinct positions in this regard:
The first position holds that he is unreliable. Al Mamaqani (d. 1351 AH) states:
اعترف جمع منهم الشيخ نجل الشهيد الثاني و صاحب النقد و الميرزا المجلسي في البحار وصاحب الحاوي [ عبد النبي الجزائري ] وغيرهم بعدم الوقوف على جرح فيه ولا تعديل بل في البحار أن صاحب رجال ابن الغضائري إن كان الحسين فهو من أجلة الثقات و إن كان أحمد فلا أعتمد عليه كثيرا وعلى أي حال الاعتماد على هذا الكتاب يوجب رد أكثر أخبار الكتب المشهورة
A group from among them, including the son of al Shahid al Thani, the author of al Naqd, al Mirza al Majlisi in al Bihar, and the author of al Hawi (‘Abdul Nabi al Jaza’iri), and others admitted to not having come across a statement of jarh nor ta’dil about him. In fact, in al Bihar, the author of al Rijal of Ibn al Ghada’iri, if it is al Hussain, then he is one of the most venerated reliable narrators. And if the author is Ahmad, then I do not rely much on him. In any case, relying on this book necessitates rejecting most of the narrations in the famous works.
Al Tiffarishi (d. 1021 AH) states:
لم أجد في كتب الرجال في شأنه شيئا من جرح ولا تعديل
I did not find anything about him in terms of jarh or ta’dil in the books of narrator criticism.
Al Wahid al Bahbahani (d. 1206 AH) criticized him and his knowledge saying:
إن ابن الغضائري غير مصرح بتوثيقه ومع ذلك قل أن يسلم أحد من جرحه أو ينجو ثقة من قدحه وجرح أعاظم الثقات و أجلاء الرواة الذين لا يناسبهم ذلك وهذا يشير إلى عدم تحقيقه حال الرجال كما هو حقه أو كون أكثر ما يعتقده جرحا ليس في الحقيقة جرحا
Ibn al Ghada’iri’s tawthiq has not been explicitly made. Despite this, rarely is there someone who is free from his criticism, or is a reliable person ever saved from his criticism (against him). He has criticized the most reliable and venerated narrators, those who are undeserving of such criticism. This shows his inability to scrutinize the conditions of the narrators as required. Or, it shows that most of what he considers as a jarh (against a narrator) is, in reality, not a jarh.
And he states:
و بالجملة بعد تتبع رواية ابن الغضائري يحصل وهن بالنسبة إلى تضعيفاته وإنكاره مكابرة
In summary, after scrutinizing the narrations of Ibn al Ghada’iri, there develops a sense of weakness in relation to the narrators he deemed weak; his rejecting (the status quo) is sheer obstinance.
Al Nuri al Tabarsi gave him the epithet “al Ta’an (the highly critical)” and said about him:
وتضعيف ابن الغضائري ضعيف لو انفر
The tad’if (deeming others to be weak narrators) of Ibn al Ghada’iri is in and of itself weak, if no other critic corroborates his opinion.
The second position makes tawthiq of Ibn al Ghada’iri. This is the opinion of some of the latter-day scholars.
Jafar al Subhani summarized for us the Imami scholars’ position on this work in the following manner:
Al Subhani refuted two arguments of those who contested the work of Ibn al Ghada’iri. Firstly, in refuting the claim that the attribution of this book to Ibn al Ghada’iri is incorrect, al Subhani states:
وما ذكره [ الخوئي ] صاحب معجم رجال الحديث من قصور المقتضى وعدم ثبوت نسبة هذا الكتاب إلى مؤلفه غير تام لأن هذه القرائن تكفي في ثبوت النسبة ولولا الاعتماد عليها للزم رد كثير من الكتب غير الواصلة إلينا من طرق الرواية و الإجازة و على الجملة لا يصح رد الكتاب بهذه الوجوه الموهونه
What al Khu’i, the author of Mujam Rijal al Hadith, mentioned of the necessary shortcomings (i.e., of this view) and the lack of proof in attributing this book to its author is incomplete. This is because the circumstantial evidence is sufficient in establishing this attribution. If there is to be no reliance on it, it would necessitate the rejection of so many books that never reached us via riwayah (narration) and ijazah (permission). On the whole, it is incorrect to reject this book based on these weak reasons.
Secondly, regarding the claim that Ibn al Ghada’iri was highly critical in relation to making jarh of narrators, al Subhani states:
لا يصح رد تضعيفاته بحجة أنه كان خارجا عن الحد المتعارف في مجال الجرح بل الحق في عدم قبوله هو ما أوعزنا إليه من أن توثيقاته وتضعيفاته لم تكن مستندة إلى الحس والشهود والسماع عن المشايخ والثقات بل كانت مستندة إلى الحدس والاستنباط وقراءة المتون والروايات ثم القضاء في حق الراوي بما نقل من الرواية ومثل هذه الشهادة لا تكون حجة لا في التضعيف ولا في التوثيق نعم كلامه حجة في غير هذا المجال كما إذا وصف الراوي بأنه كوفي أو بصري أو واقفي أو فطحي أو له كتب والله العالم بالحقائق
It is not correct to reject his statements rendering narrators weak on the basis that he went beyond the normal conventions of jarh. In fact, the truth in his non-acceptance is what we suggested in that his statements of tawthiq (of narrators) is not based on actual tangible facts, testimony, and hearing from reliable scholars and teachers; rather, it was based on conjecture and a (superficial) reading of hadith texts and narrations. Based on this, he would pass judgement about the narrator based on what was narrated by him. This type of testimony is not a valid form of admissible proof, not in making tad’if of narrators nor tawthiq. Yes, his words are authoritative in other than this field, like if he described a particular narrator as being a Kufan, or being from Basrah, or being a waqifi (i.e., attributed to the Waqifiyyah), or being a fathi (i.e., followers of ‘Abdullah al Aftah), or stating that a narrator has (authored) particular books. And Allah is the knower of truths.
In short, from the words of al Subhani, it seems as though he regards the book to be reliable, and that he does not consider Ibn al Ghada’iri as being extreme in his criticism of narrators. However, he still does not accept his criticisms. This is not because he is not eligible to critique narrators, or, because he is too extreme in his criticisms (as some Imami scholars claim). Rather, it is because of the methodology that Ibn al Ghada’iri undertook in giving rulings on the narrators—from his personal discretion and reading of the (hadith) texts and narrations, and then judging the narrator based on what was transmitted of the narration. This is a very important issue.
If we asked al Subhani the following: Where did you come to know that the opinions of Ibn al Ghada’iri are based on guesswork and his own deductions? And after proving that it is, indeed, his book, what is the difference between his opinions and the opinions of al Tusi and al Najjashi? We know that al Tusi’s does not explain the source for many of his opinions and whether or not they are taken from the Imamiyyah’s predecessors. Or, whether or not they are based on his deductions and personal discretion.
Al Subhani does not have a proof for what he is saying. In fact, Ibn al Ghada’iri would, at times, pass judgement (on narrators) based on what he transmitted from the statements of the Imami scholars.
What is the position of both al Hilli and al Khu’i regarding Ibn al Ghada’iri?
Ibn al Mutahhar al Hilli relied on the opinions of Ibn al Ghada’iri related to narrators and frequently transmitted from him, to such an extent that he became famous for doing so. Whoever examines his book, al Khulasah, will clearly see that. The scholars of the Imamiyyah pointed out al Hilli’s reliance on Ibn al Ghada’iri and they deduced his tawthiq for him. Under the biography of Hudhayfah ibn Mansur al Khuza’i, al Hilli states:
والظاهر عندي التوقف فيه لما قاله هذا الشيخ
It seems as though, according to me, judgement should be suspended regarding him on account of what this Sheikh (i.e., Ibn al Ghada’iri) said.
Al Hilli suspended judgement on Hudhayfah because of Ibn al Ghada’iri’s statement, despite transmitting his tawthiq from both al Mufid and al Najjashi. Commenting, al Karbasi (d. 1175 AH) states:
لا يخفى دلالة كلام العلامة على تعديل ابن الغضائري لأن توثيق الشيخ المفيد والنجاشي لا يحصل معه التوقف إلا بتقدير كون ابن الغضائري ثقة… وإنما المقصود هنا التنبيه على أن العلامة قائل بتوثيق ابن الغضائري فقط بل لقوله مع النقل المذكور فكأن العلامة تحقق هذا
It is not hidden from al ‘Allamah’s words that he makes ta’dil of Ibn al Ghada’iri. This is because tawaqquf or suspending judgement on a narrator is not gained when the likes of al Mufid and al Najjashi make tawthiq; this can only be assumed if Ibn al Ghada’iri is considered a thiqah… What needs to be iterated here is the fact the al ‘Allamah is essentially making tawthiq of Ibn al Ghada’iri and his statement, despite what has been narrated (from the others). It is as if al ‘Allamah confirmed this.
Al Wahid al Bahbahani (d. 1206 AH) also pointed out al Hilli’s reliance on Ibn al Ghada’iri. He states:
من تتبع صه و جش [يقصد الخلاصة و رجال النجاشي] أيضا وجدهما يقبلان قوله مطلقا
Whoever examines “sad ha” and “jim shin” (i.e., al Khulasah and Rijal al Najjashi) as well, will find that they, too, accept his statements without any exception.
Al Khu’i states:
يظهر من العلامة في الخلاصة أنه يعتمد على هذا الكتاب ويرتضيه
It appears as though al ‘Allamah in al Khulasah relies on this book and is pleased with it.
Therefore, al Hilli transmits his statements and acknowledges them as if they are generally acceptable (facts). And if he objects to him, he objects just as he does to the other scholars—those whose statements he usually relies on, such as the likes of al Najjashi, al Tusi, and others.
Al Khu’i’s position on the statements of jarh of Ibn al Ghada’iri is completely different to al Hilli’s. While al Hilli would mention his rulings and transmit them as if they are generally accepted facts, we find al Khu’i falsifying them and not accepting them when they are transmitted from his book—that is currently in circulation. His argument is based on the inauthentic attribution of the current book to Ibn al Ghada’iri. He states:
إن الكتاب المنسوب إلى ابن الغضائري لم يثبت بل جزم بعضهم بأنه موضوع وضعه بعض المخالفين ونسبه إلى ابن الغضائري
The attributed book to Ibn al Ghada’iri is not proven (to be his). In fact, some have asserted that it is a fabrication made and attributed to Ibn al Ghada’iri by some of his adversaries.
Thus, al Khu’i considers the attribution of this book to Ibn al Ghada’iri as incorrect. In fact, he went beyond merely doubting the attribution to him by saying it was fabricated by some of his adversaries!
In another place, he makes tawthiq of Ibn al Ghada’iri himself and criticizes his book. He states:
أما ابن الغضائري فهو ثقة ومن مشايخ النجاشي فلا مناص من الاعتماد عليه وقد اعتمد عليه النجاشي نعم إن الكتاب المنسوب إليه لا يعتمد عليه لعدم ثبوت نسبته إليه
As for Ibn al Ghada’iri, he is reliable and from the teachers of al Najjashi. Inevitably, he is to be relied upon; al Najjashi relied on him. Yes, the book attributed to him cannot be relied upon since it has not been (authentically) proven to be his.
Al Khu’i did not discredit Ibn al Ghada’iri and his knowledge; rather, he objected to what was narrated from his book on account of it being, according to him, wrongfully attributed to him. As for accepting Ibn al Ghada’iri if the transmission is proven to be from him, there is no escaping the fact that al Khu’i accepts his opinion. Al Khu’i states:
ونحن إنما لا نعتمد على التضعيفات المذكورة في رجال ابن الغضائري لعدم ثبوت هذا الكتاب عنه وأما لو ثبت منه تضعيف بنقل النجاشي أو مثله لاعتمدنا عليه لا محالة
We do not rely on the aforementioned statements of tad’if in al Rijal of Ibn al Ghada’iri since it has not been proven to be his. However, if a statement of tad’if is established via the transmission of al Najjashi or someone similar, we most certainly rely on it.
Al Khu’i bases this opinion of his while refuting al Shahid al Thani—who claimed he has an authentic chain to Ibn al Ghada’iri’s book. He states:
فإن الشهيد قدس سره يذكر في طريقه إلى هذا الكتاب العلامة [الحلِّي] وأنه يروي هذا الكتاب بطريق العلامة إليه وقد عرفت أن المطمأن به أن العلامة لا طريق له إلى هذا الكتاب
Al Shahid (may his status be sanctified) mentions al ‘Allamah (al Hilli) in his chain to the book, and that he narrated this book via al ‘Allamah. You know for certain that al ‘Allamah does not have a chain to this book.
Thus, al Khu’i believed that al Hilli did not have a chain for this book. In fact, the teacher of al Hilli, Ibn Tawus, does not have a chain for this book. Al Khu’i states:
إن الكتاب المنسوب إليه [ابن الغضائري] لم تظهر صحة نسبته إليه وقد صرح الشيخ [الطوسي] بأن له كتابين ومدحهما غير أنه لم ينسخهما أحد من أصحابنا وعمد بعض ورثته إلى إتلاف هذين الكتابين وغيرهما من الكتب وقد ذكر [ابن طاووس] في التحرير الطاووسي أيضا أنه لا طريق لنا إلى كتابه والعلامة [الحلِّي] أيضا لا طريق له إليه وإن أكثر النقل عنه
The book attributed to him (Ibn al Ghada’iri) does not appear to be authentically attributed to him. Al Sheikh (al Tusi) stated that he has two books—that he praised; however, no one from our companions transcribed them. Some of his heirs destroyed these two, and other books. Ibn Tawus also mentioned in al Tahrir al Tawusi that neither we nor al ‘Allamah (al Hilli) has a chain to the book, even though the latter frequently transmits from him.
It is strange that al Khu’i, when he wanted to make tawthiq of Jabir ibn Yazid al Ju’fi, he relied on what al Hilli transmitted from Ibn al Ghada’iri. He states:
ينبغي أن يقال أن الرجل لا بد من عده من الثقات الأجلاء لشهادة علي بن أبراهيم [القمي صاحب التفسير] والشيخ المفيد في رسالته العددية وشهادة ابن الغضائري على ما حكاه العلامة
It is appropriate to rather say that the man (i.e., Jabir ibn Yazid al Ju’fi) is counted among the venerable thiqat (reliable narrators) because of ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim (al Qummi’s—the author of the Tafsir) testimony, al Sheikh al Mufid’s testimony in his al Risalah al ‘Adadiyyah, and Ibn al Ghada’iri’s testimony in his favour—according to what is transmitted by al ‘Allamah.
However, in dealing with the rulings of Ibn al Ghada’iri, al Khu’i acts contradictorily. Whoever reads al Mujam will see him on many occasions mentioning his opinions. In fact, he raises him among the (valid) scholars who hold varying views, as will be seen from the following examples.
After a few lines, al Khu’i states, “The man, even though ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim makes tawthiq of him because he exists in the isnad of his Tafsir, however, despite that, it is not possible to rely on his narration for the mere fact that al Najjashi testified that the scholars made tad’if of him. Similarly, Ibn al Ghada’iri made tad’if of him. Yes, if there was no clear tad’if, it would be possible for us to pass a judgement in favour of him being reliable, despite his false beliefs. In fact, even if his beliefs were borderline kufr, we would still be able to do so.
Therefore, al Khu’i—despite critiquing the book of Ibn al Ghada’iri—draws conclusions with it, at times. This is clearly contradictory! With this, Muhammad al Sanad’s words are incorrect when he states, “What is clear from the writings of al Khu’i, the author of the Mujam, is that he relied on him in several places, whether it be in the process of distinguishing between narrators who have similar names, or, in gathering the required evidences under the biography of individual narrators.”
Thus, al Khu’i did not restrict himself to what Muhammad al Sanad mentioned; rather, he went beyond that by mentioning the difference (of opinion) regarding some narrators, as can be seen from the previous biography.
In a similar manner, we find al Khu’i, when required, relying on the opinions of Ibn al Ghada’iri. In another place, he says about Ibn al Ghada’iri’s opinions, “There is no reliance on what is transmitted from him in terms of tawthiq and tad’if (of narrators)!”
This is a clear contradiction. Thus, in short, al Khu’i in most instances wherein mentioned Ibn al Ghada’iri rejects his opinions; however, he contradicts this position, at times, as evident in the previous examples.
Al Tusi states:
علي بن أحمد العلوي العقيقي ….. له كتاب الرجال ….قال أحمد بن عبدون وفي أحاديث العقيقي مناكير
‘Ali ibn Ahmad al ‘Alawi al ‘Aqiqi… He has a book on narrators… Ahmad ibn ‘Abdun said, “And in the ahadith of al ‘Aqiqi are munkar (unacceptable) reports.”
‘Abbas al Qummi states:
العقيقي بفتح المهملة و المثناة التحتانية بين القافين نسبة إلى عقيق المدينة وادٍ فيه عيون ونخيل
Al ‘Aqiqi; attributed to Wadi al ‘Aqiq. It contains springs and date palms.
Al Hilli placed him in the second section of his work that is dedicated to weak narrators, those whose opinions are rejected, and those on whose opinions judgement is suspended.
What then is the position of al Hilli and al Khu’i regarding al ‘Aqiqi and his statements about narrators?
One who peruses al Hilli’s al Khulasah will find him frequently citing and relying upon the opinions of al ‘Aqiqi. To such an extent that al Hilli states that he transmits from his work his Kitab al Rijal:
قال السيد علي بن أحمد العقيقي في كتاب الرجال أبان بن أبي عياش كان سبب تعريفه هذا الأمر سليم ابن قيس
Al Sayed ‘Ali ibn Ahmad al ‘Aqiqi stated in Kitab al Rijal, “Aban ibn Abi ‘Ayyash: Sulaim ibn Qais is the reason for him defining this issue.
Hussain al Sa’idi states:
ومن كتبه الرجال، وصلت منه نسخة إلى العلامة الحلِّي اعتمد عليها في ستة موارد
And from his books is al Rijal. A copy of it reached al ‘Allamah al Hilli; he relied upon it in six places.
Abu ‘Ali al Ha’iri (d. 1216 AH) states:
وقد أكثر العلامة في (ص) [الخلاصة] من النقل عن كتابه الرجال وعد قوله في جملة أقوال العلماء الأبدال وكثيرا ما يدرج الرجال في المقبولين بمجرد مدحه وقبوله
Al ‘Allamah frequently transmits from his work al Rijal in al Khulasah. He counts his statements among the statements of the greatest scholars. Often times, he enters narrators into the category of acceptable on account of al ‘Aqiqi’s praise and acceptance (of them).
Thereafter, al Ha’iri quotes six examples—I do not think he intended to exhaust all of the examples (with these six), as is apparent from the previous text of Hussain al Sa’idi. This is because what Hussain al Sa’idi mentioned is simply inaccurate; I examined the places where al Hilli transmits from al ‘Aqiqi in al Khulasah and found them to be more than twenty-eight places.
What is mentioned by Abu ‘Ali al Ha’iri and understood therefrom is that there seems to be a complete reliance of al Hilli on al ‘Aqiqi in many narrators’ biographies. This is correct; however, it is not without exception. Under the biography of Khaythamah ibn ‘Abdur Rahman, Ibn Mutahhar al Hilli states:
قال علي بن أحمد العقيقي: إنه كان فاضلا. وهذا عندي لا يقتضي التعديل، وإن كان من المرجحات
‘Ali ibn Ahmad al ‘Aqiqi states, “He was virtuous.” This, according to me, does not necessitate a ta’dil, even though it gives preponderance to it.
This comment of al Hilli has two possible meanings:
Whoever reflects on this, it is not possible for him to definitively confirm one of the two possibilities. This is because the issue is merely a possibility. It can be said, “I am not definitively sure, but I think the second (opinion) is closer to the truth.” Because among the citations—which exceed more than twenty-eight—al Hilli only redressed (al ‘Aqiqi) here. And this too because of the usage of the word “fadil;” not because of al ‘Aqiqi’s actual statements of tawthiq, which, as it seems, al Hilli frequently relies upon. Despite this, al Khu’i adopted the first opinion, as is clear from his statements in refutation of those who validate the tawthiq of al ‘Aqiqi.
What makes matters worse—and may be the cause of further confusion—is the following question: How could al Hilli place al ‘Aqiqi in the category of weak (narrators) and, despite this, still cling to his statements of al jarh wa al ta’dil?
Speaking about al Hilli and Ibn Dawood, Hussain al Sa’idi answers this question saying:
ولا يستفاد من اعتمادهما [على أقوال العقيقي في الجرح و التعديل] وثاقته لأنهما يجتزئان في المدح و القدح بما يوجب الظن ويجزئ بمثله في عدم المعارض وقد ذكراه في الضعفاء ولم يعداه من الموثقين رغم اعتمادهما على رجاله
His reliability cannot be understood from their reliance (on the statements of al ‘Aqiqi related to al jarh wa al ta’dil) because they are both contented by that which establishes probability in approbation and disparagement [of a narrator]. Such probability can be sufficed upon when there is no opposing view. [In his case] They both mentioned him among the weak (narrators) and they did not count him among the reliable ones, despite their reliance on his work on narrators.
Al Khu’i agrees with what Ibn al Mutahhar al Hilli believed in that al ‘Aqiqi is amongst those whose narrations is not to be accepted. Al Khu’i expressed this saying:
توصيف الشيخ [الطوسي] الرجل بالمخلط أو أن في أحاديثه مناكير وإن لم يدل على ضعفه في نفسه إلا أنه يكفي في عدم اعتباره عدم ثبوت وثاقته
Al Sheikh (al Tusi) description of the man as mukhallat (confused), or that his hadith contain munkar (wholly unacceptable) reports—even though it does not prove that he himself is weak; it is, however, sufficient in disregarding him because his reliability has not been proven.
Al Khu’i presented the opinion of those who consider al ‘Aqiqi as reliable and refuted it in a manner that serves our purpose, here. He states:
إن العلامة يعتمد على علي بن أحمد العقيقي وقد استشهد بكلامه في عدة موارد [ وهذا يقتضي توثيقه ] والجواب عن ذلك ما تقدم من أن العلامة يعتمد على كل إمامي لم يرد فيه قدح فلا أثر لاعتماده على أن العلامة لم يظهر منه الاعتماد على العقيقي وإنما ذكر كلامه في عدة موارد مدحا أو جرحا للرجل الذي يترجمه كيف وقد عد العقيقي في القسم الثاني ونقل كلام الشيخ فيه
Al ‘Allamah relies on ‘Ali ibn Ahmad al ‘Aqiqi and he has cited his words in several places (this implies his tawthiq). The answer to this is as follows: What has already been stated in that al ‘Allamah normally relies on every Imami narrator about whom no criticism has been mentioned. Therefore, there is no sign of him (particularly) relying on him. Although, it does not even appear that al ‘Allamah actually relied on al ‘Aqiqi; rather, he only mentioned his words in a number of (different) places when attempting to praise or criticize a narrator that he was offering a biography of. How can he consider al ‘Aqiqi reliable when he placed him in the second category (of weak narrators) and narrated the words of al Sheikh (al Tusi) regarding him?
Al Khu’i, based on al ‘Aqiqi being weak and not accepting his statements related to al jarh wa al ta’dil, states:
أما توثيق العقيقي فإن ثبتت بنقل ابن داود فلا أثر له أيضا، فإنه ضعيف
As for the tawthiq of al ‘Aqiqi, if it is proven from the narration of Ibn Dawood, then it is of no consequence. This is because he is weak.
Based on the words of al Khu’i, he believes that:
Despite all of this, we see that al Khu’i, if there is a need, mentions the statement of al ‘Aqiqi in support of him and upholds it without any compunction. Under the biography of al Nadr ibn ‘Uthman al Nawa, al Khu’i states, “Al ‘Aqiqi states, ‘He died confused. Al ‘Allamah mentioned him in the second chapter under the letter ‘nun’ of the second category.’”
Similarly, under the biography of Abu Ruwaym al Ansari, al Khu’i drew a conclusion based on al ‘Aqiqi’s stance. He states, “In al Khulasah, al ‘Allamah states, ‘‘Ali ibn Ahmad al ‘Aqiqi al ‘Alawi: weak.’” There are similar examples in other places. This, bearing in mind that al ‘Aqiqi’s words here are transmitted to us via al Hilli, without the slightest reference to al ‘Aqiqi being weak. or, the fact that al Hilli’s chain to al ‘Aqiqi is problematic, as al Khu’i mentions in several places. All of this proves that there exists no yardstick (in accepting or rejecting al ‘Aqiqi); rather, it is sheerly based on (the individual’s) utility: if there is utility in criticizing him via the chain of al Hilli and explaining that al ‘Aqiqi is weak, then it is used (to their advantage), otherwise, it is not.
Al Barqi, whose statements are transmitted in al Rijal, is Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid al Barqi, the author of Rijal al Barqi. Al Tusi states:
أبو جعفر أصله كوفي …. وكان ثقة في نفسه غير أنه أكثر الرواية عن الضعفاء واعتمد المراسيل
Abu Jafar, originally a Kufan … He himself is a thiqah; however, he frequently narrates from weak narrators and relies upon marasil (broken) reports.
Al Najjashi mentioned something similar.
Ibn al Ghada’iri states:
طعن القميون عليه وليس الطعن فيه إنما الطعن في من يروي عنه فإنه كان لا يبالي عمن يأخذ على طريقة أهل الأخبار
The Qummis have criticized him. The criticism is not against him; rather, it is against those he narrates from. This is because he did not care whom he took from, as per the methodology of the hadith scholars.
Al Hilli states, “According to me, his narration(s) are acceptable.”
The majority of the Imamiyyah either make tawthiq or tahsin (i.e. regard him as a good narrator).
In the introductory remarks, I mentioned the condition of his book, al Rijal—which, in reality, is a work on tabaqat (prosopographies) and not a work on jarh and ta’dil. Al Khu’i relies heavily on it in terms of distinguishing between the generations of narrators. Despite that, both him and al Hilli transmit his statements from him regarding those narrators who have been criticized, despite their small amount.
In his al Khulasah, al Hilli frequently relied upon al Barqi. For example, he narrates the following from al Barqi under the biography of Dawood ibn Abi Zaid, “Well-known to be truthful.” Consequently, al Hilli places him in the first category of reliable narrators in his book.
Under the biography of Suwaid ibn Ghaflah, al Hilli narrates from al Barqi who said, “He is from the close associates of Amir al Mu’minin.”
Under the biography of Fudayl ibn Muhammad ibn Rashid, al Hilli states, “(He is) reliable. Al Barqi stated this.”
Thus, we find al Hilli completely relying on his statements to such an extent that even if al Barqi alone made tawthiq of someone (al Hilli would rely on him), as long as others do not oppose him. This is the case for Ibrahim ibn Ishaq—Abu Ishaq al Ahmari al Nahawandi; under his biography, al Hilli states, “Al Barqi states, ‘He is a sheikh; there is no problem with him.’” Al Tusi deemed him weak in his work on narrators. Therefore, al Hilli placed him in his second category of weak narrators, and those whose statements are rejected or judgement suspended. Despite al Hilli’s reliance on him, he preferred the statement of al Tusi over al Barqi’s. Upon examining al Khulasah, we find al Hilli narrating his opinions related to the jarh and tawthiq of narrators more than his opinion regarding the tabaqat of narrators—which is the essence of his book.
Al Khu’i relied upon the opinions of al Barqi in al Rijal. This goes back to the book being reliable, according to him. When mentioning the primary sources of narrator evaluation (which he considers as five—the first of which is Rijal al Barqi), he states in his Mujam:
المعبر عنه في فهرست الشيخ بطبقات الرجال وقد اعتنى العلامة [الحلِّي] بهذا الكتاب في الخلاصة وذكر في إجازته الكبيرة وغيرها طريقه إلى فهرست الشيخ وإلى ما اشتمل عليه الفهرست من الكتب
What is expressed in the Fihrist of al Sheikh (al Tusi) is that it is a work on the tabaqat of narrators. Al ‘Allamah (al Hilli) gave attention to this work in al Khulasah. He mentioned in his al Ijazah al Kabirah and other places his chain to al Fihrist of al Tusi and whatever other books it contains.
Al Khu’i did not object to whether the book is proven (to exist), as he did with other books. However, because of the scarcity of al Barqi’s rulings related to al jarh wa al ta’dil, as mentioned, we find that al Khu’i did not hesitate in using al Barqi’s book for the sake of defining the tabaqah (generation) of a narrator. Thus, in tens of biographies do we find al Khu’i determining the tabaqah of a narrator by relying upon what al Barqi believed. Examples of this are many—if we do not say altogether that al Khu’i completely transcribed the Tabaqat of al Barqi into his Mujam.
The evidences for this are many. The following is an example. Under the biography of Aban ibn Abi ‘Ayyash Fayruz, al Khu’i states:
ذكره البرقي في أصحاب السجاد وفي أصحاب الباقر من أصحاب الحسن والحسين عليهم السلام
Abu Jafar al Tusi, the indisputably relied-upon (scholar) of the Imamiyyah. Al Najjashi states:
محمد بن الحسن بن عليّ الطوسي أبو جعفر جليل في أصحابنا ثقة عين
Muhammad ibn al Hassan ibn ‘Ali ibn al Tusi, Abu Jafar, revered among our companions, reliable, eminent.
Al Hilli sates:
شيخ الإمامية قدس روحه رئيس الطائفة جليل القدر عظيم المنزلة ثقة عين صدوق عارف بالأخبار
The sheikh of the Imamiyyah (may Allah sanctify his soul), the leader of the sect, of a high standing and great prominence, reliable, eminent, trustworthy, knowledgeable of (hadith) reports.
Al Khu’i states:
إني لم أظفر في علماء الإسلام من هو أعظم شأنا منه
I have not come across someone of greater prominence than him among the scholars of Islam.
Al Tusi is the author of the book al Rijal, al Fihrist, and an abridgement of al Kashshi’s work, Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal. All of these form part of the primary works of hadith narrator criticism according to the Imamiyyah. Similarly, he is the author of Tahdhib al Ahkam and al Istibsar, both of which are regarded as part of the four-primary works of hadith, upon which the Imami school is based upon. He also has other works that are relied upon in the school.
Both al Hilli and al Khu’i frequently transmit from his works and rely on his opinions—which are duly considered in the rulings on narrators. To such an extent that al Hilli gives preference to his views over al Najjashi’s. For example, under the biography of Muhammad ibn Khalid ibn ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al Barqi, al Hilli states, “He is weak.” The relied-upon (statement), according to me, is the statement of ta’dil of Abu Jafar al Tusi.”
In short, there is no dispute among the scholars of the Imamiyyah regarding his greatness and acceptability of his statements.
 Al Tusi: Rijal al Tusi, p. 494, biography number 6385.
 Ibn al Ghada’iri: al Rijal, p. 120, biography number 201.
 Al Najjashi: al Rijal, p. 428, biography number 1149, without describing him with weakness (d’uf).
 Al Kalbasi: al Fawa’id al Rijaliyyah li Abi al Ma’ali al Kalbasi, 1/336. See his book: al Du’afa’, 3/38 by Hussain al Sa’idi. Al Mamaqani stated al Nasr to be “deemed weak, with the more preponderant position being that he is good,” as mentioned in Tanqih al Maqal, 1/158. Hashim Ma’roof al Hassani regarded him to be of those who “initiated the foundations for the science of narrators and the in-depth study thereof, such that the narrations of the deviant and accused were not mixed up with the narrations of those deemed reliable of the Shia, whose creed and beliefs of Shi’ism is balanced.” From the book Dirasat fi al Hadith wa al Muhaddithin of Hashim Ma’roof al Hassani, p. 28.
 Abu al Ma’ali Muhammad ibn Muhammad al Kalbasi narrated from him in al Fawa’id al Rijaliyyah, 3/501.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 89, biography number 190.
 Ibid, p. 181, biography number 539.
 This occurs frequently in Mujam al Rijal, as under the biography of al Hussain ibn ‘Ali al Khawatimi (7:593560), and other such places.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 13:50, biography number 8195.
 Ibid, 7:241, biography number 3972.
 Abu al Ma’ali Muhammad al Kalbasi narrated this from him in al Fawa’id al Rijaliyyah, 3/501.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 27, biography number 118.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 2/166, biography number 685.
 Bahr al ‘Ulum: Rijal Bahr al ‘Ulum (al Fawa’id al Rijaliyyah), 2/35.
 Aghabuzruk al Tahrani: al Dhari’ah, 10/154.
 Abu al Ma’ali Muhammad al Kalbasi transmitted from him in al Fawa’id al Rijaliyyah, 1/457. The book’s editor, Muhammad Hussain, points this out in the marginal notes, “The explanatory remarks of the al Shahid al Thani on Khulasat al Aqwal: 33.”
 As in many biographies—we can say that all of al Najjashi’s book was emptied and placed into Rijal al Hadith of al Khu’i. See, for example, the following biography numbers in the first volume: 28, 37, 43, 69, 73, and 78. All of them commence with al Najjashi’s words. This is al Khu’i’s method in his entire Mujam.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 177, biography no. 526.
 Al Najjashi: Rijal al Najjashi, p. 306, biography number 840.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 229, biography number 769.
 Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal; Rijal al Kashshi, p. 541, biography number 1026. In attempting to censure the narrator of this story, al Khu’i states, “‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Qutaybah—he has not been deemed reliable. Therefore, the narration is not to be relied upon.” He stated this in Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 14/315. In response, I (i.e., the author) say: ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Qutaybah was deemed reliable by Ahmed al Basri in Fa’iq al Maqal, p. 135 (no. 714); al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 177 (no. 527); al Mamaqani: Tanqih al Maqal, 1:109; al Shaharudi: Mustadrakat ‘Ilm al Rijal, 5/446. Al Majlisi made tahsin (i.e., deemed it to be sound) in Rijal al Majlisi, p. 265 (no. 1283). The scholars of the Shia have many excuses and justifications regarding this narration. Among them is what is mentioned in al Tahrir al Tawusi (p. 214)—it is important to note what justification is mentioned of the incident in the text of al Kashshi’s book; it seems as though the justification is from the words of al Tusi who summarized the book, and not from al Kashshi himself—who mentioned the narration. What indicates to this is the fact that it came near the end of these justifications. “It is said that al Fadl has 160 works, we have mentioned some of them in al Fihrist.” This proves that it is the words of al Tusi which he mixed with the text (of the hadith); this increases the doubt in the reality of this book and, as such, it is necessary to point out. (I say) for arguments sake: If the justification is from al Kashshi’s own words, he is narrating it from Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn Yaqub Abu ‘Ali al Bayhaqi. Accordingly, the question arises here: Is Ahmed ibn Yaqub reliable? The answer is no. Al Shaharudi states in Mustadrakat ‘Ilm al Rijal, “They did not mention him” (1/458). Therefore, nothing is known of his condition except that he prayed for al Fadl ibn Shadhan. Does he become reliable by merely praying for al Fadl? This is, indeed, strange. How can he be relied upon in making tad’if of a narration that has an authentic chain?
 As in the book Khulasat al Aqwal of al Hilli under biography numbers 140, 165, 405, and many other such places.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, vol. 1 (biography no. 190, vol. 4, biography no. 1581, and other such places.
 Ibid., 8/175 (no. 4524).
 Mujam al Buldan, 3/436.
 Ibid., 3/497.
 Al Majlisi: Bihar al Anwar, 57/218, hadith no. 48.
 Ibid., 57/217, hadith no. 46.
 Ibid, 57/217, hadith no. 43.
 Al Rashti: Risalat fi ‘Ilm al Dirayah—printed among the booklets in Dirayat al Hadith of Abu al Fadl Hafizyan al Babili, 2/311. ‘Ali al Naqwi al Hindi mentioned something similar in his book al Jawahir al ‘Azizah fi Sharh al Wajizah (p. 391); Hassan al Sadr: Nihayat al Dirayah, p. 416; al Wahid al Bahbahani: al Fawa’id al Rijaliyyah, p. 49; al Kajuri al Shirazi: al Fawa’id al Rijaliyyah, p. 107; Mulla ‘Ali Kani: Tawdih al Maqal fi ‘Ilm al Rijal, p. 208; ‘Ali al Burujardi: Tara’if al Maqal, 2/263; Abu al Ma’ali al Kalbasi: al Fawa’id al Rijaliyyah, 1/253; ‘Ali al Khaqani: Rijal al Khaqani, p. 102, and many others.
 ‘Abdul Hussain Ahmed al Amini al Najafi – al Ghadir, 3/350.
 Bahr al ‘Ulum: al Fawa’id al Rijaliyyah (Rijal Bahr al ‘Ulum), 2/368. Al Nuri al Tabarsi states, “There is a well-known discussion regarding the Qummis’ tad’if (rendering a narrator as weak) in the primary works and the works of narrator criticism; their method in criticizing (narrators) is different to the majority’s method of criticism, as well as their hastening to criticize without any apparent reason are things which cause the expert and intelligent (person) to doubt.” Khatimat Mustadrak al Wasa’il, 1/65.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 399, biography no. 1340. As for what al Hilli narrated from al Najjashi, this is found in Rijal al Najjashi, p. 38, biography no. 77.
 In explaining the understanding of the presumption of ‘adalah (asalat al ‘adalah) according to al Hilli, Baqir al Ayrawani states in his book, Durus Tamhidiyyah fi al Qawa’id al Rijaliyyah (p. 122): “I.e., the presumed state of every Imami about whom no statements of tawthiq or tad’if appear is ‘adalah (i.e., that he possesses integrity). And despite al Hilli’s respect for al Najjashi, he did not attempt to exonerate him for any wrongdoing from the narrator; he feared (for himself) the rebuke of the Qummis and so he suspended judgement.
 As in many biographies, among them in al Mujam, numbers 521, 861, 3435, and many other such places.
 Al Mamaqani states, “Al Ghada’ir is the plural of al Ghadarah. It is pottery made from pure, green clay. The work of their ancestors was to make the aforementioned type of pottery. Or, al Ghada’ir is the plural of al Ghadirah. It is smooth land with pure soil and sweet water; it was their dwelling” (Tanqih al Maqal, 1/57).
 Al Tusi alluded to the date of his death in his work on hadith narrators, p. 425, biography number 6117.
 Muhammad Taqi al Tustari transmitted this from him in Qamus al Rijal, 1/45. He ascribed it to him in the marginalia saying, “In his authorizations for the father of al Baha’i, See: al Bihar, 18/160.” Al Tustari refuted the opinion of al Shahid al Thani.
 Of those who held this opinion are: al Mamaqani Tanqih al Maqal, 1/57; Zakiyy al Din a-Qahba’i (d. 1021 AH): Majma’ al Rijal, 1/108; Muhammad al Bahbudi: Ma’rifat al Hadith, p. 110; Jafar al Subhani: Kulliyyat fi ‘Ilm al Rijal, p. 84; ‘Abdul Hadi al Fadli: Usul ‘Ilm al Rijal, p. 37; Muhammad al Sanad: Buhuth fi Mabani ‘Ilm al Rijal, p. 308; Mir Damad Muhammad al Astarabadi: al Rawashih al Samawiyyah, p. 81 (35) (He says about him. “(He is) Quick to make tad’if for the slightest reason.”; Muhammad al Karbasi: Iklil al Manhaj fi Tahqiq al Matlab, p. 109; Bahr al ‘Ulum: al Fawa’id al Rijaliyyah, 4/153; Hussain al Radi: Tarikh ‘Ilm al Rijal, p. 106; Mustafa al Tiffarishi: Naqd al Rijal, 2/98; al Tustari: Qamus al Rijal, 1/446; ‘Abdul Nabiyy al Kazimi states in Takmilat al Rijal (1/212), “Thus, most hold the view that it is Ahmed.”
 Al Majlisi: Bihar al Anwar, 1:41.
 Al Mamaqani: Tanqih al Maqal, 1/57.
 Mustafa al Tiffarishi: Naqd al Rijal, 1/119.
 Muhammad Baqir (al Wahid al Bahbahani): Fawa’id al Wahid al Bahbahani ‘ala Manhaj al Maqal aw Ta’liqat al Wahid ‘ala Manhaj al Maqal, 1/333. The strange thing is that al Wahid himself described Ibn al Ghada’iri saying, “He is from the venerable and reliable teachers, those that do not require explicit textual evidence to prove that they are reliable. He is the one who is mentioned by the teachers in relation to (information about) narrators. They (also) consider his statements in the sum total of statements and they bring forth his statements in opposition to the statements of (other) great and reliable people” (Ibid., 2/61).
 Ibid., 1/336.
 Al Nuri al Tabarsi: Khatimat Mustadrak al Wasa’il, 4/261. He named him “al ta’an (highly critical)” in vol. 5, p. 414.
 Among them: al Hurr al ‘Amili: Amal al Amal, 2/12 (relying on what al Hilli relied upon); Ahmed al Basri, “Nothing related to his jarh or ta’dil was mentioned. The closest opinion (to the truth) is to accept what he narrates.” Fa’iq al Maqal, p. 82 (biography no. 65); al Mamaqani (Tanqih al Maqal, 1/8) states, “Relied upon in ta’dil, not in jarh.” The editor of Ibn al Ghada’iri’s book, Muhammad Rida al Jalali, held the view that he is reliable. He bases this opinion on the fact that both al Tusi and al Najjashi prayed for Allah’s mercy to be upon him, and because Ibn Tawus, al Hilli, and Ibn Dawood relied upon him, as mentioned in the introduction to his edited edition of Ibn al Ghada’iri’s al Rijal (p. 14). In al Mufid min Mujam Rijal al Hadith (p. 26) (an abridgement of al Khu’i’s statements), al Jawahiri states, “(He is) reliable because he is from the teachers of al Najjashi.” In Zubdat al Maqal (1/112), Bisam Murtada states something similar. Abu al Ma’ali al Kalbasi regards him as being “from the leading and most prominent of companions,” as in Sama al Maqal (1/23). It appears that al Qahba’i makes tawthiq of him, as in Mujam al Rijal (1/108).
 Jafar al Subhani: Kulliyyat fi ‘Ilm al Rijal, p. 89.
 Commenting on this opinion, Rida al Jalali states, “This is a questionable position that is rejected by a consensus; the basis for accepting and rejecting (hadith) is the accurate ascription of the book and the soundness of the book’s methodology. It is not possible to make a distinction in that between tad’if and tawthiq” (Muqaddimat Rijal Ibn al Ghada’iri, p. 22).
 Jafar al Subhani: Kulliyyat fi ‘Ilm al Rijal, p. 91.
 Ibid., p. 103.
 Of those who depend on the work of Ibn al Ghada’iri, as collected by Hussain al Sa’idi: 1) Ibn al Mutahhar al Hilli, 2) Ibn Dawood al Hilli, 3) Hussain ‘Abdullah al Tustari, 4) Ibn Tawus, 5) ‘Inayatullah al Qahba’i, 6) al Damad in his Rawashih, 7) al Khawaju’i, 8) al Fadil al Tuni, 9) al Wahid al Bahbahani, 10) al Kalbasi, 11) Muhammad Taqi al Tustari—author of al Qamus, 12) Jafar al Subhani, 13) ‘Abdul Hadi al Fadli. This is what Hussain al Sa’idi gathered in his work, al Du’afa’ min Rijal al Hadith, 1/88.
 This is the case for many biographies; he considered him like the other great scholars, those whose statements are mentioned. See biographies: 62, 72, 188, 1253, 1248, 1257, and tens of others.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 121 (biography no. 350. The actual text of Ibn al Ghada’iri reads, “His hadith are not sound (ghayr naqiyy). He narrates authentic and problematic reports; his case is doubtful. His hadith can be admissible as supporting reports.” (Ibn al Ghada’iri: al Rijal, p. 50, biography no. 30).
 Muhammad Jafar ibn Muhammad Tahir al Khurasani al Karbasi: Iklil al Manhaj fi Tahqiq al Matlab, p. 177.
 Al Wahid al Bahbahani: Ta’liqah ‘ala Manhaj al Maqal li al Astarabadi, p. 330. He means by “sad ha” Khulasat al Aqwal of al Hilli and “jim shin” Rijal al Najjashi.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam al Rijal, 1/96.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 1/96.
 Ibid., 10/22.
 Ibid., 8:129.
 Ibid., 1/41.
 Ibn Tawus mentioned that he collected the primary works Rijal al Tusi, al Fihrist, Rijal al Kashshi, Fihrist al Najjashi and then stated, “I have contiguous chains for all of them except for the work of Ibn al Ghada’iri.” Muqaddimat al Tahri al Tawusi, p. 25.
 Al Khu’i: Kitab al Salah, 4/191.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 4/344 (biography no. 2033). He states something similar under the biography of Habib ibn Mu’allal al Kuth’ami, 5/204 (biography no. 2578).
 Ibid., 6/24 (biography no. 2941).
 Muhammad al Sanad: Buhuth fi Mabani ‘Ilm al Rijal, p. 310.
 Al Khu’i: Kitab al Salah, 5/378.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam al Rijal, 18/274, under the biography of Muhammad ibn Musadif (no. 11824).
 Al Tusi: al Fihrist, p. 127, no. 426.
 ‘Abbas al Qummi: al Kuna wa al Alqab, 2/464, no. 485.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 365, no. 1437.
 Ibid., p. 325, no 1280.
 Hussain al Sa’idi: al Du’afa’ min Rijal al Hadith, 3/372, no. 227.
 Abu ‘Ali al Ha’iri al Mazandarani: Muntaha al Maqal fi Ahwal al Rijal, 4/340, no 1948.
 As in biography numbers 213, 361, 385, 427, 473, and many other places.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 139, no. 385.
 Hussain al Sa’idi: al Du’afa’ min Rijal al Hadith, 3/368 (no. 227).
 Al Khu’i: Mujam al Rijal, 12/281 (no. 7931).
 Al Khu’i: Mujam al Rijal, 12/281 (no. 7931).
 Ibid., 8/32 (no. 4206).
 Ibid., 19/237 (no. 12488).
 Ibid., 20/174 (no. 13079).
 In other words, the narrator Abu Ruwaym is weak because of al ‘Aqiqi’s statement [translator’s note].
 Al Khu’i: Mujam al Rijal, 22/169 (no. 14292).
 Al Tusi: al Fihrist, p. 48, no. 65.
 Al Najjashi: Rijal al Najjashi, p. 76, number 182.
 Ibn al Ghada’iri: Rijal Ibn al Ghada’iri, p. 39, numbers 10 and 207.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 63, no. 72.
 For details regarding this difference of opinion, see: Takmilat al Rijal of ‘Abdul Nabi al Kazimi, 1/238; and Tanqih al Maqal of al Mamaqani, 1/82.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 142 (no. 391). See al Khu’i’s discussion on the chapter discussing differences (of opinion) regarding the name of a narrator in al Mujam, 8/94 (no. 4374).
 Ibid., p. 163 (no. 475). It has been said that his name is Suwaid ibn ‘Aflah.
 Ibid., p. 228 (no. 767). The book’s editor pointed out an error of al Hilli in that the tawthiq is not directed at the biographee.
 Al Tusi: Rijal al Tusi, p. 414 (no. 5994). In another place of the same work (p. 383, no. 5635), al Tusi states, “Ibrahim ibn Ishaq. Reliable.” This is either another person—as is the opinion of al Khu’i in al Mujam (1/185) or, it is the same person and it could be that the contradiction between his jarh and ta’dil goes back to the mistakes committed by al Tusi.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 1/95.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 1/95.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 1/129, number 22. See (also) biography numbers 47, 50, 55, 73, 90, 98, 101. This is only taken from the first half of the first volume.
 Ibid, p. 403, number 1068.
 Al Hilli, Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 249, number 845.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadih, 16/262.
 Al Najjashi: Rijal al Najjashi, p. 335, no. 898.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 237 (no. 813). He is the father of Ahmed al Barqi, the author of al Rijal. Al Khu’i has an opinion that al Hilli “did not prefer the statements of al Tusi over al Najjashi; rather, he merely mentioned his reliance on the statements of al Tusi, since the words of al Najjashi are not clear in relation to his tad’if” (17/73, no. 10715). This is strange coming from al Khu’i because al Najjashi’s words are quite clear about the tad’if of Muhammad ibn Khalid. He states, “And Muhammad is weak in hadith.” In what clearer language can his weakness be expressed?